Maya took some to school to give to her friend, Palmo. Maya shared half the pie as they walked to school in the morning and promised the other half to her at lunch. Maya then made up some story about how she left the rest of the pie in her locker so Maya could eat it herself. I don't blame her.
The pie that's trying to beat me down is pumpkin. I've failed at if a few times. It's the first time I've converted a non-vegan recipe to vegan that's not working out. The crust is great. The flavor of the filling is great. The filling doesn't solidify while cooking. I've added all kinds of thickeners, tried different things. When I first tried making it, I felt so cocky about pie. I baked me some humble pie instead (That was too easy!) All I kept thinking as I looked at my hot, runny pumpkin filling was, "What's gone wrong in Pie Town?" Anyway, I'm not done trying and experimenting. Pumpkin pie ain't got me beat yet.
Maya went to a school dance last night. Nothing really to report about that except that she's found herself the perfect, special go-to outfit. It's comfortable and beautiful. She hung a little multi-colored tapestry purse over her head and across her chest. I told her, "You can't ask anything more of an outfit. This is perfection."
We bought the little dress last week at a thrift store. If fits her like it was made for her. She beamed beauty and confidence.
Maya and Emma Ready for the 7th Grade Dance, 10/07.
I haven't told you about third grade. Mr. R is Mina's new teacher. So far he may be my favorite teacher that either girl has had during their academic careers. The rumors were abuzz before the school year even started about how demanding he was. And strict. And heavy-handed with the work load. The rumors are not rumors at all. They're all true, but he is also wonderful and funny. He's like a genius child himself; a former attorney that worked in a Manhattan firm until he drop kicked litigation to work with eight and nine year olds. The homework he assigns is about two and a half times the work Mina had last year. He requires that the parents are held accountable for everything too. Our signatures are needed nightly on every page, every list; initial here, sign there, make them redo this, and correct that. On top of that, twenty minutes of reading is required, 7 days a week, during breaks, holidays and sick days. I don't mind any of this. And the best part is that neither does Mina. We plug away and fumble around with time management and prioritizing. Maya's right there with us at the dining room table doing the same managing and prioritizing with her own very weighty seventh grade load. We're all about flashcards and redoing and reading through the toughness. I've always believed that there's no secret formula to hard work. I'm exhausted to be honest, but I'm encouraged and thrilled that Mina's on board 100%.
Yesterday, Mina told me she "spaced out through the window" during her math test. She froze when something felt too challenging. She put down her pencil and stared out the window for the rest of the time. Mr. R had her go into another room and with an aid's help Mina finished the test. Mina told me this on our walk home, and as she was shyly telling me the story, my heart was swelling and cracking. It was the first time this year that I've seen evidence of the self-doubt she had mildly contracted in second grade. It caused me panic.
Like a lunatic, I emailed Mr. R when we got home. It was a garrulous email pretty much pitching Mina; how terrific she is; please don't misunderstand her or judge her or think she's a bad student or that she can't do this. I told him we were working hard! All this residual emotional shit that I thought was flushed came gushing out on poor Mr. R. I did make the email a bit funny so he didn't think I was a complete freak. I hit send and had immediate remorse. Husband came home and I told him what had happened and I cried my eyes out for the first time in a million months. Husband said, "Jesus, it's ok if she struggles a little." And I stopped crying and thought, "Oh?" He said, "She's ok, Mami." Embarrassed, I wiped my cheeks with the palm of my hand.
This morning I received a response from Mr. R. I almost didn't want to open it. The first sentence read: "Wow!" Which made me laugh. He said he was impressed that Mina tells me all about her day and that the math test wasn't that big of a deal. He said he knows she can do the work and that she's a good girl and that he's happy she's in his class. He said Mina is certainly not the only kid that spaces out from time to time in his class. "She's fine. We'll make it through together," he wrote. And the world floated off me. I felt part of a team, Mina's Third Grade Team, and I then skip-skip-skipped to flash Mina some times-table cards.